The term “cycling widow” always makes me cringe. I never understand why people aren’t either heading out cycling with their partner or super happy that they have a motivated fit partner who likes to head out riding.
Lately I’ve been battling an injury which prevents me riding distances so have been unable to go out cycling with my partner. For the most part while he’s out riding I’m off to the farmers markets then cooking or catching up on business work or sewing. It’s great I get to do my thing and he keeps cycling and I only wish I could be cycling more too.
Yesterday however we were in Canberra for the Fitz’s Challenge ride. For him it was a fantastic day of riding for me it potentially meant up to 6 hours of being on my own with no transport and due to the rainy weather stuck inside the hire car (I don’t drive so I really was stuck).
So instead of moaning about being stuck with a bit of planning and a break in the weather I had a really fantastic day, so this is my tale of a day of cycling without the cycling.
I can hear the rain pounding on the roof as I wake up, I creep to the window and open the curtains a crack. The wind is blowing trees every which way and I can’t see the closest hills because the cloud is so low and heavy. I get back under the blanket and grab my iPhone to check the weather. The forecast for the next few hours looks grim but after that a possibility that it might ease up. I fall back asleep till the alarm goes.
It’s still raining. We debate briefly about not heading to the ride but getting some more sleep and then spending the day at art galleries and museums instead. I suggest we should go to the start and just see how the weather goes.
On the way to the start we get stopped at an intersection. The half a dozen cars in front all have bikes on them as well. Everyone is heading to the start. As we wait at the intersection the group of riders who left at an earlier time go past. Rain jackets, wet weather gloves and booties are all visible on the already soaked riders it does not look fun at all.
At the start everyone is rugged up and trying to huddle under shelter to keep out of the rain. The carpark is a mess of rivers of muddy water and puddles.
The rain starts to ease once sign in has been done, back at the car gear is sorted, bike is double checked and pockets are filled with food, energy bars and gels. The weather radar is showing clear. With only the chance of showers it’s looking better.
Down on the start line it’s a mixture of people looking cold and excited.
After the rider briefing they were off.
Now I’m on my own.
Back inside the warm hire car I was at least out of the light rain and cold wind. This is where my planning the night before we’d left Sydney came into it’s own. Some embroidery was first up with some podcasts to listen to. The Wittertainment one kept me laughing and entertained while I stitched away. With not much sleep the night before I was wondering if I could fit in a nap. With the seats folded down to carry the bike I had more than ample room to have a quick nap (being short is sometimes a good thing).
Now the sun was shining it was time to take a camera and go exploring.
The nearby mountain bike trails were studied and I walked along and took a look at some native flowers and trees and more than a few weeds.
A mob of kangaroos were up on the hillside. I got as close as I dared and that caused a few of them to quickly jump away while others just stood and stared. I watched them eat and play for awhile. No matter how many times you see kangaroos they are always fascinating.
Some more podcasts and embroidery were interspersed with text updates counting down the checkpoints of the riders. Not sure exactly how fast they were going I calculated the fastest they could finish from the last finish point and went down to the finish line with camera. Here were a group of people all waiting for their partners to finish too. Most of them were slightly annoyed at them having to “waste a day”. I felt like I’d had a great day just doing my own thing.
Ride finished, cups of tea and food were found at the finish line and we waited for friends to come on through. I even spotted some Rocket Fuel cycling caps on riders as they came through. After a cold and raining morning that promised a horrid day the weather was now so bright that I got a bit sunburnt.
Was a really lovely day, riders had a great time and apart from wishing I could’ve done the ride certainly never felt like I was missing out on not having a day of my own.
So next time I hear someone complain about being a “cycling widow” am going to suggest they either get a bike themselves or just plan their day better.